By News Team
Last Updated: 3rd July 2020
The fantastic weekend of racing concludes with brilliant cards at Sandown and Haydock. The feature is the Eclipse where the nation’s favourite mare, Enable, makes her seasonal reappearance.
Here are Nick Luck’s thoughts on the action.
Japan can give O’Brien a sixth Eclipse
JAPAN is a confident selection to land the Eclipse (3:35pm) at Sandown on Sunday at 9/2. Yes, my head is ruling my heart, in the belief that – although she may be able to maintain her level of form – Enable (11/10) is highly unlikely to be better this year than last. In my view, her opponents in this year’s race represent a more potent threat on raw ability than Magical and Regal Reality a year ago.
In addition, the presence of Ghaiyyath (9/4), for one, neutralises Frankie Dettori’s ability to control the race as he did so cleverly in 2019. Ghaiyyath himself is a mighty beast, as he showed when storming home in the Coronation Cup, but he will find it harder to dominate a field of faster horses – his two really striking performances have come over 12 furlongs.
By contrast, Japan is arguably at his optimum in a strongly run race over this distance and was really not beaten far by Enable in the Arc. He is open to stacks of improvement from his seasonal debut – he moved forward sharply from his debut run last year – and is likely to progress more in the round through this year than any of his rivals.
Lazuli to Charge home first
The Charge (1:50pm) is bang up to scratch this year, and I narrowly favour LAZULI over Liberty Beach at 5/2. The selection hosed up here last time in really impressive fashion (2nd ran well at Ascot) and can make up into a Group One horse before the year is out.
You won’t be Cross if back Counter
There could be more joy for the Appleby-Buick team in the Henry II Stakes (2:25pm), as Gold Cup third CROSS COUNTER looks to have been found a good opportunity to get back on track. Charlie Appleby made no secret of the fact that he needed the run at Ascot and – in the circumstances – he showed more than enough. He’s priced at 15/8.
Watson and Palmer can take mile handicap
The mile handicap (3:00pm) looks borderline impossible, but I can’t let ACQUITTED go unbacked at 11/1. He ran horribly at Ascot (eased when his chance had gone), but will be happier back at a mile, and is getting a lovely chunk of weight for age here under Jason Watson.
Johnson’s contender the play in Haydock handicap
At Haydock, SUBJECTIVIST looks the answer in the staying handicap (2:05pm) at 11/2. He posted a fine performance at Ascot when trapped wide, but never surrendering, suggesting that he was crying out for 14 furlongs.
Manuela De Vega can take out Lancashire Oaks
Ralph Beckett looks to have the aces in the Lancashire Oaks (2:40pm) with three talented and closely matched fillies. Narrow preference is for MANUELA DE VEGA at 9/4, who might have won the Oaks with more luck last year and who looked like she was about to fulfil that potential when beating Ascot heroine Fanny Logan in the Pinnacle.
Home comforts might suit Frankuus
The Old Newton Cup (3:15pm) looks tough to call, but FRANKUUS – he’s three-for-three at Haydock, can run well fresh, won’t mind ease in the ground and can take advantage of a slipping mark at 16/1.